Big changes may be coming to the NHL’s overtime format, which will be reevaluated at this week’s general manager meetings in Toronto. And for several Bruins players, a few adjustments would be welcome.
The league’s current system of one five-minute overtime period followed by a shootout has been debated at great length since its adoption in 2005, with some likening deciding a game by shootout to determining the outcome of an NBA game with a 3-point contest.
Several options are reportedly on the table for discussion at the meetings, including extending the extra session to 10 minutes or even adding an additional five-minute period of 3-on-3 hockey after the currently used 4-on-4 session.
Bruins winger Milan Lucic played under a similar format during his time in the British Columbia Hockey League — which used the added wrinkle of adding a skater for penalties during the 3-on-3 period rather than removing one — and he said Wednesday that it would be a great fit for the NHL, as well.
“You feel like it’s almost fitting that it ends that way, rather in the shootout. It’s definitely something I would be in favor of,” Lucic said, according to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com. “A five minute 4-on-4 and then a five minute 3-on-3 would be really exciting, and cool to watch. Hopefully they do something where we can get it done in overtime rather than a shootout.
“I remember that nobody ever came off the ice and was like ‘that’s so stupid that we lost it 3-on-3’ [when they got back to the dressing room]. Your chances were always pretty good to score. It was just a matter of who was going to score first.”
Playing hockey with only six total skaters on the ice has a tendency to yield wide-open scoring chances, making the 3-on-3 system something goalies, including B’s netminder Tuukka Rask, aren’t incredibly keen on. But as he has mentioned many times before, Rask is no fan of deciding a game on penalty shots.
“I wouldn’t mind [getting rid of the shootout,]” he said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with the game you just played. It’s just so dramatic when you lose. As a goalie it’s tough to accept that it’s not all your fault if you lose. I don’t know. As a viewer I’m a fan of the shootout, but when you’re in it, it’s not that cool, especially when you’re on the losing end. A five- or 10-minute overtime? I’d be OK with that. But going to 3-on-3 [in overtime] … that sounds a little crazy to me.
“They’re trying to make these new rules every year, it seems like. Whether it’s goalie pads or [smaller] nets, or whatever. I wouldn’t be surprised if we play 2-on-2. It’s not good for the fans if teams are playing it safe at the end of the game just to get to the shootout, so I’m all for overtime and going 4-on-4 to try and go for it.”